Lately Andy and I have been hinting around about upcoming travel plans, and I’m finally ready to share some of the details. But it’s more than just our next fun trip. For months we have been working towards a new lifestyle. It wasn’t an easy process, and there were times we thought it might fall apart, but now we’re almost there.
It started last summer. We spent four days in Barcelona experiencing a little taste of the local instead of the touristy side of the city. Sure, we checked out la Sagrada Familia cathedral and Guell Park. But most of our time was spent eating lunch from a local market, having a few drinks after dinner at a local cafe, and escaping the high heat of the day by writing and talking to each other in our apartment. Then a month later we had one amazing night in Lisbon where we talked about our future and really made a decision to change things up.
Andy found this great post from Married With Luggage about naming your dream and making a dream board. We’ve also been following No Vacation Required for quite some time now, and between the inspiration we got from two sites, we eventually decided on the name Beyond Vacation. Naming the dream and having something physical like the dream board really helped us focus on our goals and made it feel more realistic.
Beyond Vacation comes from the idea that we want more travel in our lives. We don’t want to just escape on a vacation a couple times a year with barely any time to explore the cultures we’re visiting. We want our lives to include work we enjoy along with the flexibility to travel and be in another place for longer periods of time.
What does this mean?
After lots of paperwork and several bumps in the road, Andy finally secured his upgraded visa granting him permanent residency in Germany. His new visa also allows him to work on a contract or freelance basis. He turned in his notice at work (read here about how different this is in Germany) and his last day is April 19. Now he has more flexibility to take short or medium length contracts with companies right here in Freiburg, other parts of Germany or even other parts of the world. It also means he can find contracts to do remotely.
We will still have our home base in Freiburg. We like having a home, and since Freiburg is a university town, there are always good opportunities to rent out our apartment to students or visiting professors. This means we can travel in between Andy’s contracts or when he has a contract he can do remotely. We’d love to really settle into a place for a few months. My biggest desire right now is to escape at least a few months of the cold German winter and go somewhere warm.
Slow travel: I want to enjoy the culture and explore destinations in more depth. This could mean spending a week in one city or temporarily living there for a few months. We’re also going to limit air travel. Not only does Andy hate to fly, but traveling by train is a great way to enjoy the journey and slow down.
Experiences over stuff: The memory of a experience is so much more valuable than a souvenir. While we do enjoy having a home and the comforts that come with that, we have no desire to continually buy lots of stuff to take up space in our apartment.
Work life: Andy and I have both had jobs that consumed us. The stress makes it hard to enjoy time off, and that’s not how we want to live our lives anymore. We’re both striving to do work we enjoy that hopefully helps people in some way, while still allowing for plenty of time to enjoy our lives and see the world. Life should not be all about work.
Balance: Andy and I both like a certain amount of routine, but we also need variety and a change of scenery. We need travel to gain confidence and to continue challenging ourselves. So we’ll be fine-tuning this lifestyle over time to strike a balance between home and travel, routine and variety.
The big kick off trip
Instead of jumping right into a contract, we’ve decided to start off our new lifestyle with a bang. In early May, we will travel to Luxembourg, Netherlands and Belgium. During that time we will also be attending the TBU travel blogging conference in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Then we will be in Italy for the month of June, including a week at Blogville in Bologna. I’ll give you more details about our trip as we continue planning.
We’ll be back in Freiburg in July. Andy plans on getting a contract for the summer and fall, and then if everything works out the way we want it to, hopefully we can find somewhere warm for a few months in the winter. I also have a project I’m working on, but no announcements on that just yet.
Keeping in touch
As always I will be writing about our experiences here on Ali’s Adventures. Not only do I enjoy sharing my travels with you, but I hope to encourage you to travel as well and show you how you can visit some of the places we visit.
Andy and I will be writing about these experiences from different perspectives across our sites, and we’d love to have you join us on the Facebook pages for more photos and lots of travel goodness: Ali’s Adventures, Grounded Traveler, and Ctrl-Alt-Travel.
We’ve also launched a joint newsletter to share with you our Beyond Vacation philosophy, experiences, advice and inspiration. This is something we will work on together and send out about once a month.
You can also check out the more permanent home of Beyond Vacation here. We’re really looking forward to this next stage of our lives and having you along for the journey!